Network Availability Biggest Challenge For LBS In India

Rakesh Verma
Managing Director, MapmyIndia

The booming smartphone penetration in the country has opened the door of new opportunities for numerous allied verticals, including Location Based Services (LBS). The LBS sector, according to a report by research firm, Research and Markets is poised to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 58.61 per cent in the country between 2014 to 2019, but there are also major challenges to overcome. Channel Times had an exclusive chat with Rakesh Verma, Managing Director, MapmyIndia to explore the new opportunities as well as challenges arising in this promising sector:

How has the LBS ecosystem evolved in India?

Location Based Services are witnessing rapid advancements in the country. A majority of the smartphone applications are now leveraging the benefits of LBS, irrespective of whether they come under the IoT domain or not. The technology is also fueling the growth of IT hardware segment in the country, owing to the requirement of a GPS, Servers etc. and has helped the government in offering citizen centric services.

What are the major challenges upfront the LBS industry?

While the LBS industry has always been a frontrunner to inherit the latest technologies, a lack of consistent high speed data network in the country continues to remain a challenge. At present 3G is the minimal network requirement for LBS applications to offer seamless support, which if available PAN India can do wonders for the sector. Also since India is a diverse country, the absence of applications in local languages come as another significant challenge.

What are the expansion plans of MapmyIndia in the ongoing fiscal?

We are venturing in two directions, first we are focusing on enhancing our Map based platforms and LBS applications to improve the customer experience of our navigational devices. Secondly we are also partnering with thousands of individual developers and businesses PAN India to spur the growth of the LBS industry in the country.

What is the market share of MapmyIndia in the country’s LBS segment?

The LBS market in India is quite complex and fragmented. Since I haven’t come across a single research which details on the industry size and market shares till now, it would be unfair for me to comment on our market share. MapmyIndia however is committed to lead the LBS ecosystem in the country by offering assistance to developers and early stage players.

MapmyIndia has also forayed in the vehicle tracking space. What are the offerings which the company has come up for this segment?

We are offering two services in this regard, one is directly aimed at our end users which is our fleet management solutions, while we are also providing our APIs of maps to thousands of other vehicle tracking solution providers in the country. We have also partnered with automobile manufacturers including Hyundai, Honda, Tata etc. to bundle our navigational devices in their vehicles.

How is the response from consumers for the company’s standalone navigational devices?

Our standalone navigational devices, be it portable or a fixed entertainment device, integrated in a vehicle are witnessing significant traction in the country. A major reason for their success could be attributed to their capability to operate without any mobile data coverage, as against using mapping services on a smartphone, which also drains the battery significantly. We have also started embedding house numbers in the maps of our devices and at present this service is available for 250 cities in the country.

What are the major trends evolving in the LBS segment at present?

There is a strong notion among LBS providers that Internet of Things (IoT) will emerge as a game changer for the sector. We also expect to witness the integration of more real time platforms in the LBS technology.

How different is the Indian LBS market as compared to developed parts of the globe?

Since the telecom infrastructure is more evolved in western parts of the globe, the LBS offerings there offer a more fruitful experience to consumers. As far as the technology adoption by the country’s LBS sector is concerned, then I believe it is at par with any nation in the world.

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